By Jennifer Worick, TODAY contributor
Already staving off your seasonal depression? Kick holiday blues to the curb with one of these funny, charming, or twisted books. When you’re worn down by crowds at the mall, drunken office parties, and that shop assistant who insists that an infinity scarf is the perfect gift for everyone on your list this year, don’t turn to spiked eggnog. Instead, crack open one of these giggle-inducing books and give yourself the gift of humor therapy. Jennifer Worick, whose essay, “Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy,” is included in the collection, "Mug of Woe: Wreck the Halls," shows you why ‘tis the season…to laugh.
'Holidays on Ice'
By David Sedaris
(Back Bay Books)
No discussion about side-splitting holiday books would be complete without this now-classic book of essays. If you've never read “The SantaLand Diaries,” you are in for a treat as you dip into David Sedaris’ tale of being a Macy’s elf. Who knew inter-elf flirtation was so taboo? If you have read "Holidays on Ice," the newest edition of this holiday collection features six extra essays. Unusual Christmas traditions from around the world are explored in “Six to Eight Black Men,” while “The Monster Mash” brings together Halloween and the medical examiner. Joy to the world that brought us David Sedaris.
'I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence'
By Amy Sedaris
(Grand Central Publishing)
David isn't the only Sedaris to corner the market on funny. Sister Amy tackles holiday entertaining with aplomb and her signature subversive sense of humor. Yes, there are helpful hints throughout but this skewed take on a classic hostess handbook offers inappropriate and highly entertaining tips for cooking, crafts, parties, etiquette, conversation and all things party, accompanied by kitschy photographs of the author herself. If you’re sick of the holiday soirée circuit, curl up at home with this party in a book.
'Let Nothing You Dismay'
By Mark O’Donnell
The holidays are upon Tad Leary, and things aren't going well. He just got canned from his job, he’s about to be evicted, and he can’t seem to finish his dissertation. And it’s about to get worse. The Sunday before Christmas, he realizes his dance card is full. He’s got seven parties to attend that day. Seven. So he presses his shirt and heads out, meeting up with his dysfunctional family, a nude performance artist, an ex-girlfriend, and an ex-boyfriend along the way. O’Donnell’s novel offers a hilarious and spot-on take on New York’s various social circles. If you like your humor with a side of satire, "Let Nothing You Dismay" is just the ticket.
'You Better Not Cry'
By Augusten Burroughs
(St. Martin’s Press)
If you’re familiar with Burroughs’ memoir, "Running with Scissors," you know what to expect: hilarity with a side of dysfunction. This collection offers such memorable vignettes as eating the face off of a life-sized wax Santa, waking up next to a flesh-and-blood Santa, and making a tenement out of gingerbread. It’s not all reindeer games, however; Burroughs also offers up poignant stories, such as learning to celebrate the holidays again after the death of a boyfriend. While it’s titled, "You Better Not Cry," don’t be surprised if you shed a tear or two amidst the barrels of laughter.
'A Christmas Blizzard'
By Garrison Keillor
For homespun holiday humor, turn your attention to the prairie. Garrison Keillor’s novella is an updated and satirical take on "A Christmas Carol." It’s bitterly cold in the Midwest, and energy-drink mogul James Sparrow wants to get out of Dodge (or rather, Chicago). He’s thinking Hawaii but winds up in North Dakota instead, in the midst of a blizzard and his nutty relatives. While hunkering down to ride out the storm, the electricity craps out and James is visited by various characters that teach James a valuable lesson about Christmas and life. God bless us, every one.
Jennifer Worick is the author of more than 25 books (including the just-published Things I Want to Punch in the Face, which features plenty of hilarious jabs about the holidays) and a publishing consultant; she can be found at jenniferworick.com.